"See if you can use their opposition to learn more about their priorities," Maxfield said. That requires skill in communicating with the supervisor, being persistent in asking questions and trying to initiate a dialogue. "Do it by listening," he said. Often, it's a matter of having the conversation in the first place to find out where the other person is coming from and what their needs are that you can help them to meet, he said.
Once on a better track, it's important to challenge yourself. "People forget that how you get better at work, you practice," he said. "Don't just do your job -- it's not just can you program Java, but can you program this type of Java in 20 minutes or less."
The book overall continually emphasizes that "we have a lot less control over our behavior than we think we do. We're way overly optimistic in relying on willpower and it fails us. So our book is meant to give the influence back to people -- what is pulling against you that you can bring over to your side so that it can work for you," Maxfield said.